Changing Landscape of Education & Work - Insights from the NZIEC 2023 Conference31 August 2023
Written by Arunima Dhingra – Director and Senior Licensed Immigration Adviser #200900407
I had the pleasure of attending the NZIEC KI TUA 2023 conference hosted by Education New Zealand from 16 – 18 August 2023 in the beautiful Otautahi, Christchurch. The event, held at the exquisite Te Pae convention center in Christchurch, brought together a diverse array of around 590 professionals, educators, and thought leaders from the international education landscape. The conference delved into the dynamic relationship between education, career, and the ever-evolving job market. In this article, I highlight the key takeaways I had from the conference and share insights into the changing outlooks on education and employment.
Embracing Lifelong Learning
One resounding theme that echoed throughout the conference was the shift away from the traditional notion of obtaining a degree during one's youth as the sole pathway to a robust career and success. This was brilliantly elaborated by Helen Souness (Advisor and Independent Advisor Director, Australia) in her presentation ‘The pathway ahead for Aotearoa New Zealand’s international education sector’.
Today's global workforce is increasingly inclined towards continual self-improvement and skill enhancement, often through vocational courses. This transformation signifies a departure from the antiquated norms of the past.
The landscape of professional development has evolved to accommodate professionals seeking to adapt to new challenges and opportunities. Rather than being limited to a singular educational phase, individuals are opting to engage in learning experiences that complement their existing skills, often after gaining many years of work experience. Vocational courses offer an accessible avenue for career growth, allowing professionals to pivot seamlessly into different roles and industries.
Adapting Education and Immigration Systems
However, a pertinent question arises: Are our international education and immigration systems adequately equipped to meet this growing demand for continuous learning and diverse skill sets?
In my assessment, the answer is loud and clear in the negative.
The prevailing systems and structures within education and immigration are lagging behind the evolving needs of modern professionals. The demand for skill diversification and continuous improvement has exposed a disconnect between the traditional approach and the current reality of the job market. Consequently, it becomes imperative to reimagine and reshape these systems to align with the aspirations of individuals pursuing lifelong learning and multi-faceted careers.
Evolving Job Landscape: New Roles, New Realities
The conference underlined the inevitability of change in the professional landscape. Roles that were once considered stable and unchanging are now undergoing a profound transformation. The demographics of candidates entering various roles are diversifying, reflecting the increasing fluidity of career paths.
In an enlightening presentation, Dr. Paul Spoonley (Director, He Whenua Taurikura) had some eye-opening predictions around the new ways of working. He said that:
- 40% of current jobs will become obsolete within a decade.
- Individuals entering the labor market today will engage in 16-18 jobs across 5-6 different industries.
- An astonishing 65% of jobs that a year 13 student will eventually perform are yet to be conceptualized.
Incorporating Change: A Glimpse into the Future
The conference theme of "New Way Forward" resonates powerfully in the face of these transformative insights. Concurrently, the anticipation surrounding the upcoming Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) in October 2023, which overlooks the value of vocational education and the importance of age diversification, invites contemplation.
The new SMC category is a six point system and does not award any points for qualifications under a Bachelors degree level. Read more about this category here.
As we stand on the cusp of a new era, it is paramount for education institutions, policymakers, and industry stakeholders to collaborate in shaping an environment that nurtures continuous learning and supports professionals as they navigate multifaceted career paths. The journey ahead requires a proactive approach to align education and immigration systems with the demands of an ever-evolving world.
At Aims Global, we directly work with New Zealand businesses, education providers and international students. The uncertain times we live in have brought innovation in the recruitment strategies of many employers. Education providers are working collaboratively with employers, providing a more hands-on experience to their students than ever before to be “job-ready”. We establish a bridge through a range of services that allow for the transfer of synergy between the two sectors – employers and job-ready graduates.
Now more than ever, it is critical that international students choosing to study in NZ, with the hope of working here following completion of their studies, start on the right foot. This not only includes choosing the right program of study, but also an understanding of where that program takes them in terms of opportunities and how it aligns with the local job market.
So here is a link to talk to us today!